Here in New England, it's beginning to get cold at night. Not as cold as it will be, but plenty cool. Especially when there's the promise of snow or rain, as there is today, the air feels brisk.
I tried a new recipe for soup this past Saturday -- made it ahead to reheat in the crockpot for Sunday's potluck at church. This is a Nevada recipe. In my post about Elko, I mentioned Machi's and their great variety of soups, etc. Our hostess for this year's visit to Elko (my son-in-law's mom) had a Machi's cookbook which I had great fun paging through. I copied two soup recipes. This is one of them. I should add that I adapted it somewhat from the original, so I'm giving it here as I made it. Here it is:
NEVADA CHILI-ALBONDIGAS SOUP
1.5 lbs. ground beef
1 Tblsp. dried sweet basil
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic granules
1/3 cup fine dry plain bread crumbs
1 Tblsp. water mixed with 1/2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
2 qts. water
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 medium carrots, cut in sticks (I actually used baby carrots, sliced vertically, probably almost a pound of them)
1/2 head cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
5 whole fresh garlic cloves (I prefer to take the green sprout out of the center of my garlic before using it, so I sliced these vertically in half rather that leaving them whole)
3 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 tsp. paprika (I used the Hungarian sweet paprika)
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Mix the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Form into small balls approximately 1.5 inches in diameter.
Bring 2 qts. water to boil in a large soup kettle. Add all of the remaining soup ingredients (except salt and meatballs). Return the soup to boiling. When soup is boiling, carefully drop in the meatballs. Turn heat to simmering. Cover and cook from 1.5 hours to 3 hours. Add salt to taste. Serve soup very hot with warm, buttered flour tortillas or warm, buttered sourdough bread. (For the church dinner, I served this with herbed dinner rolls. For the leftovers, at home, I made cornbread to go alongside.)
This makes a LOT of soup, so you might want to experiment with cutting the recipe in half. It does get more and more flavorful each time it is reheated, I noticed.
As mentioned, I served this with cornbread. I can't remember if I've ever posted my cornbread recipe here before (and I'm too lazy to hunt in the archives for it) so here it is:
FAVORITE CORN BREAD
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1 stick melted margarine (1/2 cup)*
2 cups buttermilk baking mix (I use the store brand)
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal (I use the Hodgson Mill stone-ground brand)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9-inch square pan. Blend eggs, milk, and melted margarine. Sift sugar, cornmeal and baking powder together and add to egg mixture along with baking mix. (There will be some bran left in the sifter if you use the stone-ground cornmeal. Just add it into the mixture.) Whisk the ingredients together just until blended. Pour batter into greased pan and bake approximately 30 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the corn bread comes out clean. (It may take up to 40 minutes, depending on your oven.) Makes 1 9-inch pan of corn bread.
Recipe may be doubled and baked in a 9 x 13-inch pan. This may not be the healthiest corn bread in the world, but it may well be the best corn bread you've ever tasted! Wonderful with a bowl of chili or soup!
* Recently I've been experimenting with the amount of butter in this recipe. I've found that 1/4 cup butter (half a stick) works just fine. No one I've served it to has noticed any difference in the flavor. If I really feel like I want this cornbread to be healthier, I substitute canola oil for butter, still using only 1/4 cup.
There you have a very comforting meal for a chilly evening. Enjoy!